Table of Contents
Gun control has become one of the most controversial issues in the US. Due to the rising cases of gun violence, there have been renewed calls by Congress and concerned federal institutions to come up with laws and regulations that can ensure gun control. While others intimate that it is imperative that gun controls are established as a consequence of ending the violent tendencies, other any action designed to curtail the use of guns is against the US Constitution. The mass shootings in Las Vegas, Texas and San Bernardino have escalated the calls for background checks before the purchase of guns. The focus of the policy document is the implementation of background checks and psychiatric evaluations before the purchase of guns.
Many policies that have been put in place to control guns in America have failed. To begin with, we have the Brady bill, which was passed by the US Congress in the year 1993. The law directed the federal government to ensure that it undertook background checks for all people intending to purchase guns. The federal government failed to implement the law because no studies had been done on how to achieve it. The other bill was crafted in 1994, and it was about the federal assault weapon ban (Haynes, 2016). The federal government was given ten years to ban all assault weapons in America. However, this law also failed because Congress did not renew the mandate after ten years (Haynes, 2016). It is evident that many of the policies put in place to tackle the problem of gun control have not been successful. The current policy incorporates historical lessons in the area of licensing. Earlier on it was not easy for people who sold guns to have licenses. However, this policy has elaborated on the issues of licensing retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The other point is about the number of guns to be purchased. Earlier on people could buy any number of weapons they wanted, but in this policy, the number has been restricted to only one.
Policy Analysis and Framework
Gun control in the United States of America has elicited a lot of reactions from many people. The argument about gun control has led to many controversies regarding gun ownership. The manufacturing, distribution, and sale of guns are a critical issue in the United States of America (Nappen, 2017). Various efforts have been put in place to try and limit gun ownership or possession in America. Different groups of people have reacted differently as regards to gun control in the US. There are those who argue that gun control is vital in reducing insecurity cases that are as a result of illegal possession of firearms. However other people feel that there is no need to control gun possession in America (Nappen, 2015). Some policies have been enacted by both the federal government and various states to try and control gun passion.
The American society is facing enormous challenges when it comes to gun ownership. Many people can easily access and own guns in America. It is observed that gun ownership is part and parcel of the American culture. In the year 2009, close to 124 million people were in households that owned approximately 270 million guns (Lott, 2010). Given these statistics, it is clear that gun ownership in America is gradually becoming a social menace and if not controlled, it can have a negative impact on the security of many people. Gun ownership is higher in America than any other western countries. The presences of many guns in the American society threaten the safety of many Americans.
The United States of America has got the highest levels of gun violence among the economically developed countries. Gun ownership in America has caused the death of many people. It is believed that many police officers who succumb to death in the line of duty die as a result of the gunshot. Many crimes are committed in the United States of America using guns. Many of the homicide cases that are reported in the United States are as a result of firearms. In 2010 for instance, 67.5% of all the homicide cases were committed using firearms (Messner, 2012). The prevalence of guns in the United States of America threatens the security of many people. It is evident that gun ownership is affecting many people in the US because many crimes are committed with guns. There have been numerous ways that have been put in place to achieve gun control in America. One of the ways used to ensure that there is gun control is through legislation. In the state of New Jersey, a policy has been developed to control gun, ownership. The New Jersey administrative code title 13: law and public safety chapter 54: firearms and weapons. This policy was crafted to regulate gun ownership in the State of New Jersey (Nappen, 2015). Many agencies provide services related to gun control in America, and one of them is the retail dealers. This agency provides various services, and they include the selling of firearms at the retail level, sale of ammunition at the retail level, involvement in gunsmith.
Policy refers to a course of action formulated by and an organization for a particular purpose. The objectives of this policy are to ensure that there are structured means through which guns can be acquired, sold, used and disposed of in the state. It is geared towards gun control in the state of New Jersey (Nappen, 2015). Restrictions are imposed on, the purchasing of firearms in the state. The requirements for carrying a handgun are well stipulated in the policy document. The identification of people allowed to carry handguns is also an area of concern in this policy. The policy has got benefits that come about by its implementation. The number of people who own guns will come down. The main reason is due to the control measures put in place to govern gun ownership, sell manufacture, or distribution (Nappen, 2015). Rarely will firearms fall into the hands of criminals because purchasing firearms call for the precise identification of the people buying the firearm. In case of theft in retail places where firearms are being sold, there is a tracking system to help recover the lost guns. The system is to ensure that guns do not get easily lost from the retail places. The physically challenged persons can still purchase firearms without restrictions so long as their safety is guaranteed. Those who are mentally challenged can seek medical clearance from any medical facility in the state, and after that, they can be allowed to purchase guns.
There are requirements put in place to ensure that at any given level of these transactions specific requirements are to be met or fulfilled. The first thing is the restriction of people who intend to sell or transfer firearms. This policy prohibits the circulation of illegal firearms. Only licensed dealers are legally mandated to transact firearms business which entails the manufacture, sale, and transfer of guns. People intending to own firearms are expected to fill form STS-33 found with the police department or licensed retailers (Reamer, 2006). Such a move curbs on the illegal acquisition of firearms. People who purchase the firearms must officially get approval from the state. A permit that allows one to buy a gun can only be used to obtain one gun not many guns. Carrying handguns calls for one to have a permit. If one lacks a permit, he/she cannot carry a gun publicly. Mental challenges and other physical disabilities cannot be a hindrance to firms purchasing or ownership (Reamer, 2006). The only instance that can warrant disqualification of a psychiatric applicant is when they are unable to handle the firearm.
The functioning of the systems is to ensure that the primary purpose of the policy is achieved. The licensing agency is one of the service delivery systems. It makes sure that licenses are given to people or entities that qualify to transact business or acquisition of firearms (Reamer, 2006). The detailed personal data or information that is vital for the clearance process is well scrutinized by the service delivery. All the requirements are spelled out by the licensing agency for clear understanding. The forms require being filled by the individual persons or the business entities that are concerned. Deregistration and renewal of the license are also factored into the licensing system of operation. It ensures that the entire system is all-inclusive.
The current proposed policy addresses the issue of self-determination. It implies that the most critical responsibility of the social worker is to protect the rights of the client. The policy proposes that clients who come to purchase guns must be helped and protected. If they are mentally challenged, they stand a chance to be supported. The other principle concerns informed consent. The worker who in this case is the government official, retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer should deal with the client as professionals (Reamer, 2006). Any other matter arising outside this line of duty, then it ceases to be professional.
There have been considerable efforts to try and deal with the problem of gun control in the United States of America. The law was implemented by many states, including the New Jersey state. Selling of many guns at the same time to an individual was outlawed in many states (Carter, 2006). The other law that was passed to help govern gun control in New Jersey was about confiscation of guns by the state. People whose guns were taken by the state or transferred to other users tend to lose their rights to gun ownership. When these people acquired other guns, they were sentenced to imprisonment for not less than five years (Nappen, 2017). The War against firearm possessions has been sustained for a while in the New Jersey state.
New Jersey is considered as one of the states with the most strict gun laws in America. The new laws that govern gun ownership in New Jersey were developed when Christie was governor. The policy was meant to help those who purpose to own guns in the future (Nappen, 2017). The legislature was given an opportunity to ventilate through and approve the bill. The Democrats were opposed to the bill and did not want it to succeed.
Gun control in America has failed due to many reasons. The majority of the people who own guns in America are of the view that gun ownership is significant to their freedom. If people who own firearms in America are not willing to help in gun control, then the problem will persist. Another thing that makes the control of guns ineffective is the fact that gun ownership is an emblem of America’s independence from the Great Britain (Haynes, 2016). The absence of guns, therefore, can mean disastrous to many Americans. The most crucial part of it is the weak laws that govern gun ownership in America. The federal government has enacted weak laws that cannot help in gun control.
Advocacy and Practice
One of the shortcomings of the policy is in the area of firearm identification cards. The procedure of acquiring this identification card can be compromised. The reason being the form that people are supposed to fill to get the identification card is not only found in one place, but it can be found with at the police department at the same time with retailers. The process of accessing the form can be mired hence compromising the entire procedure. The other shortcoming is when a purchaser goes to the retailer to buy a firearm. The purchaser is expected to produce their identification card, but again this can be compromised. There is a possibility that the purchaser and the retailer can engage in transactions without legal documents, hence compromising the entire process (Dizard, 2000). There are instances where guns are advertised for people to purchase. The sellers are more concerned about selling not background check.
It is possible for this policy to bring about issues of discrimination and oppression. When it comes to renewal of retail dealers and employees’ licenses, there is an amount of money charged per employee (Dizard, 2000). The fact that money is extracted from the employees for the sake of permits, it is an indication of oppression. The employees who work for gun retailers and wholesalers need not be charged any fee for the acquisition of licenses because they should be covered by the employer’s licenses.
Social workers can help to bring change in this policy by ensuring that there is no discrimination or any form of oppression. They can champion for equality and fair treatment when it comes to the implementation of the policy (Glisson et al., 2012). Those who feel marginalized by the policy should be helped to level the ground for everyone. The rights of the mentally challenged people should be brought on board when it comes to acquisition of guns. The social workers should ensure that psychiatric patients are considered. They should strive for commitment to ensuring that the contribution of the community involved is recognized. The other thing that can be done by social workers is ensuring that the aspect of ethical responsibility is included in the policy (Glisson et al., 2012). People ought to be ethically responsible when it comes to dealing with the issue of the gun problem in the United States.
The policy has focused on the implementation of background checks and psychiatric evaluations before the purchase of guns. It is practically possible to establish laws and regulations that can ensure before people purchase guns they are taken through mental examination and evaluation as a consequence of determining their well-being. The rights of the mentally challenged people should be brought on board when it comes to acquisition of guns. The policy does not seek to discriminate or alienate individuals who are faced with mental challenges, but the primary objective is to ensure that guns are entrusted to people with the appropriate state of mind.
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- Reamer, F. (2006). Ethical standards in social work: A review of the NASW code of ethics. Michigan, university of Michigan.